Manufacturers groan over high exchange rate, epileptic power – Today

The National President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Udemba Jacobs, and the Chairman of its Ogun State Chapter, Dr. Wale Adegbite, have identified high exchange rate, epileptic power supply among others, as being responsible for the nation’s stunted economic growth.

The duo spoke at the 31st Annual General Meeting of the association in Ota, with the theme, “Industries and the economy: Problems, prospects and the way forward.”

Jacobs said with the manufacturing industry facing enormous challenges, it called for those in the industry to begin to think out of the box, in order to remain in business.

He said, “I will like us to consider the option of resource-based industrialisation and greater utilisation of local raw materials for our production.

On the issue of electricity tariff increase, he said MAN had got an injunction restraining the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and distribution companies from implementing it.

On his own part, Adegbite said the economy had been experiencing stunted growth, despite the various reforms by the Federal Government, because “the reforms were not deep enough to accelerate the growth of the sector.”

Governor Ibikunle Amosun noted that the real sector should rescue the national economy, by taking advantage of the nation’s agricultural and natural resources.

The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru, said the state government had been having consultation with the Federal Government on the reconstruction of the federal roads in the state, and improving power supply.

The Commissioner for Environment, Bolaji Oyelese, appealed to the manufacturers to comply with emission and pollution rules, in order to avoid sanctions.

AfDB spends $300m to empower Nigerian youths – Today.ng

The Africa Development Bank, (AfDB), has announced plans to commence a youth empowerment programme in the 36 states of the federation.

The programme is to gulp 300 million dollars and would be implemented in collaboration with the 36 states.

Country Director of the bank in Nigeria, Dr. Ousmane Dore, disclosed this on Friday in Zaria, Kaduna state, at the launch of the bank’s 2016 Annual Economic Outlook, (AEO).

Ousmane said the project was targeted at the graduates who would be trained in agriculture business and other relevant skills that will make them self-reliant.

He explained that at the end of the training the graduates would be assisted with funds to start their agriculture businesses.

“We will incubate them into existing farms and agriculture business and once they go through that incubation period, we will then propose and give them the funds.

“That has been the missing link, how do you train them and send them out without funds , you need to give them money so that they can set up the farm,” Ousmane said.

He said already the AEO has 100 million dollar project in Kaduna state in collaboration with the Islamic development Bank and the CBN to deliver the water project, adding the bank hopes to assist the current administration in its reform programmes.

“This is a state that we believe can show good example in the federation because of the effort put in place for Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and one of the states that have introduced Treasury Single Account (TSA) and with a lot of reforms ongoing, we believe a lot of reforms are ongoing in the public finance side.

“We want to start with states that are ready and we believe Kaduna state has all the requisite to be among the first states to benefit from this 300 million dollars programme.

“The project is in partnership with the state and federal government and their counterparts is to provide land , so they get the funding and the land and they are ready to go. I can assure you that what I have seen in Kaduna is the best practices that other states can emulate,” Ousmane said.

Real estate operators decry MPR hike on property industry – NAN

Some operators in the real estate industry on Friday said the increase in Monetary Policy Rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria would have adverse impact on the industry.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the increment would scare investors away from borrowing money to invest in the real estate business.

NAN recalls that CBN on July 26 announced an increase in MPR by 200 bases point from 12 per cent to 14 per cent.

Olayemi Shonubi, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Lagos State Branch, said the increment would pose a lot of burden on developers and mortgage institutions.

Shonubi said: “This is because developers and mortgage institutions source funds from the money market.

“For the mortgage institutions, which source their fund from the money market, it means that the institutions will invariably increase their interest rate on loans to the people.

“And this implies that the nation’s mortgage system, which has not been strong and effective, will get weaker because investors will be completely discouraged from using the scheme.”

Chucks Omeife, the past President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, also said the development would result to breach of loan/mortgage agreement contracts.

Omeife said developers particularly would find it difficult to comply, considering the gestation period of housing and real estate projects.

According to him, the hike will reflect even on previous loan agreements, thereby making repayment difficult.

He reiterated that real estate projects were long term projects, which ought to be financed with long term loan at single digit interest rate.

Omeife added: “But due to ineffectiveness of the mortgage system, developers are falling back on commercial banks to source fund for real estate developments.

“In my opinion, the hike is ill-timed because the economy is technically in recession.

“We expect the government to come up with policies that will control the inflationary trend and kick-start economic activities in rest of 2016.”

FG’s N60bn economic stimulus out next week – Today.ng

The federal government says it will release an additional N60 billion next week, as part of ongoing efforts to tackle infrastructure deficit and facilitate revitalization of the economy.

Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this on Thursday while addressing Senators on the state of the country’s economy since the 2016 budget came into effect. She said all the releases made so far were fully cash backed.

A breakdown of the money released shows that N170 billion was given to the Ministry of Works, Power, and Housing, with works alone getting N74 billion in two months, and Agriculture received N21.6 billion within the same period.

The Finance Minister told the legislators that all agricultural equipment now come into the country at zero percent (0%) custom duty, stressing that it will aide government’s economic diversification efforts and improve the drive towards food sufficiency.

Read more at https://www.today.ng/business/159737/fgs-n60bn-economic-stimulus-week

Airtel, British Airways partner to offer airfare discount to premier customers – The Cable

Telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has partnered with premium global airline company, British Airways, to offer discounted airfares to premier customers of Airtel in Nigeria.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Airtel and British Airways was signed on Monday at the telco’s headquarters at Banana Island in Ikoyi, Lagos.

With the offer, which begins from August 1, 2016, and runs to July 31, 2017, Airtel Premier customers, including employees of Airtel, will enjoy substantial airfare discounts when traveling by British Airways from Lagos or Abuja to London, Europe, United States of America (USA) and Canada. The discount also applies on travels in club world, world traveller plus and world traveller cabins.

Ahmad Mokhles, chief commercial officer of Airtel Nigeria and Kola Olayinka, regional manager, West Africa of British Airways signed the agreement.

Read more at https://www.thecable.ng/airtel-british-airways-partner-to-offer-airfare-discount-to-premier-customers

Naira climbs to N318.25/$1 on interbank at trading week close

July 29, 2016 (FxMallam) The Nigerian Naira remained stable at the parallel market to close the week trading at N378 to the dollar remaining largely unchanged throughout the week.

At the interbank, the story was a bit better for the naira. The naira exchange rate trimmed some of the losses recorded against the dollar during the week as it climbed further to N318.25 to a dollar on Thursday, stronger than the N322.85 to a dollar it had closed on Thursday as the market continued on the path towards relative stability.

Earlier this week, in a strong bid to tame inflation, the Central Bank of Nigeria had on Tuesday raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), otherwise known as interest rate to 14 percent from 12 percent. The effects of the move on the naira both long and short term is yet to be seen.

CBN also assured Nigerians of the stability of the banking sector, saying whilst it was poised to deal ruthlessly with any misdemeanor and malpractice, the recent removal of some banks chiefs was not a sign of distress.

Skye Bank

Earlier Friday, Reuters reported that CBN had “injected more than 100 billion naira ($315 million) into Skye bank after sacking the lender’s top management this month for failing to meet minimum capital requirements.”

 

Nigeria prepares troops for Niger Delta crackdown if peace talks fail – Reuters

YENAGOA, Nigeria, July 29 (Reuters) – Nigeria is deploying troops into strategic positions in the Niger Delta to prepare to use force against militants if peace talks fail, defence chiefs said on Friday.

Last week the government said it was talking to militants who have attacked oil and gas facilities in the main oil producing region in recent months, cutting crude production by 700,000 barrels a day, pushing Nigeria behind Angola to now make it Africa’s second producer.

“We have allowed the ongoing dialogue between the federal government and the militants. Our troops are in position. My message to the militants is to ensure they go to the negotiation table,” the chief of defence staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, told reporters during a visit to the state governor.

On the possibility of using force if talks between the government and militants break down, Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali, said: “It cannot be ruled out.”

Crude sales make up about 70 percent of government revenue and the attacks have deepened an economic crisis brought on by low global oil prices. The militants say they want a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth to go to the impoverished region.

Dan-Ali said local people would work alongside troops as part of a grassroots community security force, along the lines of an approach used to fight the Islamist group Boko Haram in the northeast.

“We will fuse them into the new security infrastructure for the region,” he said.

In June, government officials said a one-month ceasefire had been reached. But Niger Delta Avengers, the group that has claimed responsibility for the majority of attacks dating back to January, said it had not agreed a truce.

Since then the group has said it would not take part in talks unless international mediators were involved.

Nigerian lender Skye shored up by $315 mln injection from central bank – Reuters

LAGOS, July 29 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s central bank has injected more than 100 billion naira ($315 million) into Skye bank after sacking the lender’s top management this month for failing to meet minimum capital requirements, its new managing director said on Friday.

Adetokunbo Abiru also said Skye, Nigeria’s eighth-largest bank, made a pre-tax loss last year, due to oil-related bad loans and withdrawals of public sector deposits amid a government anti-corruption drive, but he did not give a figure for the loss.

That makes Skye the only Nigerian bank to make a loss in 2015, according to Reuters calculations. The central bank stepped in after depositors withdrew assets and to avert wider troubles within the banking sector as Africa’s biggest economy struggles with its worst crises for decades.

The central bank installed a new management team on July 4 with Abiru as managing director. Central bank staff had been working for two weeks inside Skye headquarters in Lagos to support the lender, Abiru told a news conference on Friday.

The bank would conduct an audit to see “what we inherited” and establish how much liquidity was needed, he said.

Read more at http://af.reuters.com/article/nigeriaNews/idAFL8N1AF6BU

OPEC oil output set to reach record high in July – survey – Reuters

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – OPEC’s oil output is likely in July to reach its highest in recent history, a Reuters survey found on Friday, as Iraq pumps more and Nigeria manages to export additional crude despite militant attacks on oil installations.

Top OPEC exporter Saudi Arabia has kept output close to a record high, the survey found, as it meets seasonally higher domestic demand and focuses on maintaining market share rather than trimming supply to boost prices.

Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has risen to 33.41 million barrels per day (bpd) in July from a revised 33.31 million bpd in June, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from industry sources.

Read more at http://af.reuters.com/article/nigeriaNews/idAFL8N1AF3LE

Nigeria says pays contractors to finish economy-boosting projects – Reuters

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – A Nigerian minister said on Friday the government had paid contractors 63.16 billion naira ($200 million) to finish delayed infrastructure projects, in an apparent bid to ease fears over the future of the schemes meant to boost the struggling economy.

Work on a series of road, power and other programmes had slowed or halted as the government struggled to make payments, amid delays in passing the national budget and foreign currency shortages.

Power, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola told an infrastructure conference in London that “63.16 billion naira have been paid out to contractors to finish infrastructure projects since the budget” was passed in May.

He did not say whether that covered all the outstanding payments. But the comments will come as a relief to contractors, many of whom were not paid for months.

They will also signal to foreign investors that there is some movement in the supply of money, which has been problematic over much of the last year due to foreign currency curbs introduced to conserve forex supplies.

The 6.06 trillion naira ($19.24 billion) budget tripled capital expenditure from the previous year in a bid to stimulate Africa’s biggest economy which is going through a crisis caused by low oil prices.

Nigeria’s economic development has been held back by erratic electricity provision and a poor road network, all of which falls under Fashola’s remit.

It was not clear whether the funds referred to by Fashola were part of the budget allocation.

Earlier this month the budget minister said Nigeria’s first quarter revenues reached only 55 percent of the government’s target due to recent attacks on oil and gas facilities in the southern Niger Delta energy hub.